Corporate social responsibility initiative of the year: Argo Group

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a new InsuranceERM award category this year highlighting insurers' growing recognition of environment, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their business activities, and recognising that failure to make measurable progress on ESG represents a reputational risk.

Alex HindsonArgo Group won this category for developing a robust ESG strategy, which includes addressing issues such as diversity and inclusion (D&I), publishing a greenhouse gases inventory and gauging employee wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

First, the Bermudian insurer established a committee to further the D&I agenda across the company, followed by a series of employee resource groups to help take action. The board was supportive and approved a D&I policy and appointed a D&I Committee chairperson.

Second, Argo Group published its first annual ESG report in 2020 and made its ClimateWise report public, establishing the company's first TCFD-compliant disclosure.

Third, the insurer calculated and disclosed its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its 35 global offices for the first time. As a result, it was able to set GHG reduction targets for 2021.

The judges commended Argo Group's commitment to its staff's wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the insurer conducted an employee engagement survey in May 2020 to gauge the impact of remote working.

As part of the CSR initiative, Argo Group created a dashboard of key risk indicators and objectives, which is approved for implementation this year.

Alex Hindson, chief risk and sustainability officer at Argo Group, says: "We will be reporting on those key performance indicators quarterly. Top of the list is to continue improving our external ESG ratings."

Hindson said the insurer's CSR initiative faced many challenges. "We started with a number of stakeholders unhappy about our ESG performance. It was a challenging place to start, but it also gave us a huge impetus and focus to drive improvement."